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    Maharashtra to prepare for lockdown after COVID-19 cases rise

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    Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked officials to prepare a plan for another lockdown as people were not following coronavirus protocol put in place amid a massive surge COVID-19 cases.

    The decision was taken at a meeting with Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, doctors of the COVID-19 task force and other officials, after Thackeray expressed concerns over rising cases.

    Health Minister Tope said that the administration would be forced to implement a lockdown as people are not following any safety rules to contain the spread of COVID-19 cases.

    With the number of cases going up, there is also a chance that it may lead to a rise in COVID-related deaths in the state.

    Maharashtra logged 35,726 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the total number of cases to 26,73,461 in the state, as per the health bulletin.

    The state has been reporting the highest number of COVID-19 cases over the last few days. On Saturday, Mumbai reported 6,123 new COVID-19 cases, its single-highest surge in 24 hours since the beginning of the pandemic, along with 12 deaths. The new cases took the city’s overall caseload to 3,91,751 and the death count to 11,641.

    Thackeray also said that the surge in cases may bring about a healthcare crisis that the state would struggle to deal with.

    Of the 3.75 lakh isolation beds, 1.07 lakh are occupied in the state and the rest are filling up rapidly, Principal Secretary (Health) Dr Pradeep Vyaas said.

    Of the 60,349 oxygen beds, 12,701 are already occupied, he said, adding, 1,881 ventilators of the available 9,030 have COVID-19 patients.

    A night curfew will be enforced as the state struggles with its biggest surge in coronavirus infections since the beginning of the pandemic. Shopping malls will remain shut from 8 pm to 7 am.

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